Web Sites for Researching History

These 10 trustworthy Web sites provide detailed accounts of historical events and figures, and collections of primary source material designed to help middle and high school students research U.S. and world history.

The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is a great source to find historical documents, photos, art, maps, audio and video, artifacts and other items. The American Memory section organizes items based on topics, time periods and places of American history. The World Digital Library, a cooperative project with UNESCO, includes rare documents from around the world.

National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration has a massive collection of material on U.S. history that can sometimes be overwhelming to search through. The Resources for National History Day Research page guides students on where to find material in the archives. In the Teaching With Documents section, assorted events are explained through primary documents in the archive’s collections.

Center for History and New Media

George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media has created a range of Web sites designed for the needs of students and teachers. It includes basic surveys of U.S. and world history, sites that teach students to use primary sources, and sites that provide lesson plans and ideas for teachers. It also features several Web sites of archives and exhibits.

PBS

PBS has a wide range of resources for students from its various programs. The most useful is likely the companion Web sites for the American Experience documentary series examining important events and people in American history. Each site includes resources such as descriptions of the events, biographies of key figures, primary source documents, interactive maps and transcripts of the film. Also visit the American Masters series for biographies of historical figures.

Digital History

Digital History is an online textbook that provides a chronological overview of American history. It also includes primary sources and detailed features on topics such as ethnic America, Abraham Lincoln, Reconstruction and controversial topics of today.

The Avalon Project

Yale Law School’s Avalon Project provides a database of documents such as laws, treaties, declarations, constitutions, speeches and statements from ancient history to the 21st century. Documents are organized by time period and by topic.

HistoryNet

HistoryNet is home to more than 5,000 articles published in Weider History Group magazines, which include American History, Military History, Wild West and World War II.

Country Studies

The Country Studies/Area Handbook Series is a compilation of books written between 1986 and 1998 that details the history of more than 110 countries, dating back to the earliest settlements. It was created by U.S. Department of the Army and printed by the Library of Congress.

EyeWitness to History

EyeWitness to History features first-person accounts of prominent events in U.S. and world history, along with a simple explanation of the event’s importance.

UMKC School of Law

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law professor Douglas Linder has compiled research pages for more than 50 of the most famous trials in history, dating back to the trial of Socrates 399 B.C. Each page includes a detailed account of the events of and leading up to the trial, court documents such as witness testimony and trial excerpts, and other primary documents such as newspaper accounts and letters.

Related Link Resources
The Library of Congress
The Library of Congress: World Digital Library
Library of Congress
The National Archives
The National Archives: Resources for National History Day Research
The National Archives
Center for History and New Media
PBS: American Experience
American Masters
Digital History
Yale Law School: Avalon Project
HistoryNet
Country Studies
Eyewitness to History
University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law: Famous Trials